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Ipswich Town (1) 3 - 3 (2) Middlesbrough

NPower Championship 2010-11

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Referee: Mick Russell

Manager: Paul Jewell

Portman Road 19:45

Attendance: 17,286

Manager: Tony Mowbray

Match Number: 3407

Goals

Away
 Andrew Halliday (42)
 Scott McDonald (43)
 Andrew Taylor (51)

Substitutions

Away
Merouane ZemmamaAndrew Halliday (16)
Seb HinesRhys Williams (35)
Tarmo KinkKevin Thomson (72)

Cards

Home
 Mark Kennedy (59)
Away
 

Teams

Away

Paul Smith

Matthew Bates

Stephen McManus

Seb Hines

Andrew Taylor

Joe Bennett

Tony McMahon

Merouane Zemmama

Julio Arca

Scott McDonald

Tarmo Kink

Substitutes

Away

Danny Coyne

Andrew Davies

Rhys Williams

Kevin Thomson

Andrew Halliday

Richard Smallwood

Mickael Tavares

Match Report

Ipswich Town 3 Middlesbrough 3

Tony Mowbray was the defensive linchpin at the heart of Ipswich Town’s promotion to the Premier League in 2000. How the Middlesbrough manager’s former club – and his own backline for that matter – could have done with a smidgen of his on-pitch nous given the porous effort in this six-goal thrill-a-minute ride.

Mowbray’s influence on that successful side 11 years ago is still highly-regarded in Suffolk, but the four centre-halves on display at Portman Road this evening will hope that their contributions are quickly erased from memory. Given the quality of defending on show, it is probably just as well that neither team is bound for the Premier League in the immediate future. Ipswich lost 7-0 at Chelsea in the FA Cup in January and it was easy to see how.

“We looked so nervous and it could have finished 7-7,” said Town manager Paul Jewell, who admitted his side is short of a holding midfielder to provide a barrier in front of Gareth McAuley and Damien Delaney, who endured a hapless evening. “The two centre-backs have both been brilliant since I have been at the club but tonight was not their best night.”

For Mowbray, his side passed up the opportunity of recording their first back-to-back victories since August 2009 after leading 3-1, and he was in agreement that six more goals would not have been a surprise or exaggeration. “Our left-back [Joe Bennett] could have had a hat-trick, but credit to Ipswich for getting back into it,” he said.

For Town’s sake, it was probably just as well that Middlesbrough went into the game with just one available striker – Scott McDonald. But it was the home side who took the lead in the sixth minute when Grant Leadbitter’s low drive from 20 yards flicked in off McAuley, though he preferred to look sheepish and let Leadbitter take the plaudits

Five minutes of madness before half-time from Delaney helped the visitors go in front, as the Irishman first sliced a Tarmo Kink cross against the crossbar, with the ball falling invitingly for substitute Andy Halliday six yards out, and Halliday then slid a cross through Delaney’s legs for the unmarked McDonald to finish with ease.

Town’s defence failed to find their bearings during the break as McDonald’s shot was cleared off the line seconds after the restart, and in the 51st minute Halliday found Andy Taylor in acres of room to fire home emphatically.

Connor Wickham’s powerful 64th minute header from a Jimmy Bullard free-kick gave Town hope of ending their run of losing all of their Tuesday night home matches this season.

Substitute Lee Martin was then tripped in the penalty area by Matthew Bates, a former Portman Road loanee, and Leadbitter converted from the spot.

Either side could have won the game late on, with both goalkeepers – Town’s Arran Lee-Barrett and Middlesbrough’s Paul Smith – required to perform heroics until the very end.

Ian Oxborrow (The Telegraph)

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